Multiple Fighter jet pilots from the United States Navy have reported alleged unidentified flying objects while operating their aircraft mid-air.
Five U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet crewmen have recounted a number of incredibly strange encounters with unidentified flying objects off the East Coast of the United States. Two of the pilots went on the record.
Experienced lieutenants Ryan Graves and Danny Accoin, as well as three other anonymous squadron pilots, who fly F/A-18 Super Hornet jets, told The New York Times they first noticed the objects in 2014.
Lt Graves and Lt Accoin were part of the VFA-11 ‘Red Rippers’ squadron at the time of the alleged incidents.
The pilots’ accounts also point to a major sensor upgrade on their aircraft that made the presence of these crafts even detectable at all.
In the vision of one incident recorded by Lt Graves’ squadron while performing training manoeuvres between Virginia and Florida off the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, the silhouette of a strangely-elongated object was caught in one of the jets’ cameras.
Related Article: Declassified’ videos USS Nimitz UFO incident: That Time the U.S. Navy Had a Close Encounter With a UFO
The pilots recorded the shapes flying over the ocean at high speed, suddenly stopping and rotating mid-air.
“These things would be out there all day,” Lt Graves told The New York Times.
“These things would be out there all day… Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.”
The persistence of these crafts was in no way the strangest thing about them. Beyond being able to drop tens of thousands of feet in a matter of a second or two and possessing flight characteristics that are unobtainable with known technology, the unannounced visitors looked like nothing else on the planet.
Lt Graves and his team reported the sightings to the US Department of Defence’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program run from the Pentagon, however, they were only ever described as “a striking series of incidents”.
Those incidents led to the pilots questioning whether the objects were part of a classified US Government drone program unbeknown to military personnel.
What’s even more important is that these events took place as recently as 2015, over a decade after the now famous Nimitz incident with the so-called ‘Tic Tac’ craft occurred.
Here is a famous ‘gimbal video’ was supposedly recorded on one of the Red Rippers’ training missions:
According to Graves, Naval Aviators really began noticing the objects in their training areas after Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars were integrated into fighter jets
Before the mid-2000s, Navy tactical fighter aircraft were equipped with mechanically scanned array (MSA) pulse doppler radar systems of varying capabilities and power outputs. F/A-18AC/D Hornets were largely equipped with the AN/APG-73 radar.
But as the production of the Super Hornet, the AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar was installed in place of the AN/APG-73.
The AESA equipped fighters can see farther, better understand what was being detected, and have a hugely enhanced ability to see detect objects flying low over surface clutter. Even small or low observable (stealthy), or slow-moving targets, or those that attempt to hide in the ‘doppler notch’ of a threatening fighter’s radar by flying perpendicular to it, have a tougher time eluding detection and engagement when facing opposition fighters packing AESA radar sets.
The New York Times writes:
The pilots began noticing the objects after their 1980s-era radar was upgraded to a more advanced system. As one fighter jet after another got the new radar, pilots began picking up the objects, but ignoring what they thought were false radar tracks.
“People have seen strange stuff in military aircraft for decades,” Lieutenant Graves said. “We’re doing this very complex mission, to go from 30,000 feet, diving down. It would be a pretty big deal to have something up there.”
But he said the objects persisted, showing up at 30,000 feet, 20,000 feet, even sea level. They could accelerate, slow down and then hit hypersonic speeds.
Lieutenant Accoin said he interacted twice with the objects. The first time, after picking up the object on his radar, he set his plane to merge with it, flying 1,000 feet below it. He said he should have been able to see it with his helmet camera, but could not, even though his radar told him it was there.
A few days later, Lieutenant Accoin said a training missile on his jet locked on the object and his infrared camera picked it up as well. “I knew I had it, I knew it was not a false hit,” he said. But still, “I could not pick it up visually.”
At this point the pilots said they speculated that the objects were part of some classified and extremely advanced drone program.
But then pilots began seeing the objects. In late 2014, Lieutenant Graves said he was back at base in Virginia Beach when he encountered a squadron mate just back from a mission “with a look of shock on his face.”
He said he was stunned to hear the pilot’s words. “I almost hit one of those things,” the pilot told Lieutenant Graves.
What was strange, the pilots said, was that the video showed objects accelerating to hypersonic speed, making sudden stops and instantaneous turns — something beyond the physical limits of a human crew.
“Speed doesn’t kill you,” Lieutenant Graves said. “Stopping does. Or acceleration.”
Asked what they thought the objects were, the pilots refused to speculate.
The Theodore Roosevelt carrier left the US, deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2015 to form part of the fight against Islamic State. The pilots have since said the alleged sightings have stopped since their departure.
Photo credit: U.S. Navy